Matteo Bartaletti Talks Big Flavours And Bold Dining At STK Ibiza

Posted on July 15, 2019

Words: Olivia Ebeling

Images: La Skimal

The STK name needs little to no introduction to discerning steak lovers from all over the world and since 2016, White Isle visitors can get their fix of hearty meats, potent cocktails and high energy entertainment at the renowned chain’s island outpost STK Ibiza.

Offering a heady mix of vibrant performances and uplifting house music while maintaining an impressively high standard of cuisine quality, it’s no surprise the Marina Botafoch hotspot is consistently busy. Remaining calm, cool and confident in the kitchen while ensuring mouth-watering premium meat cuts, healthy fish and seafood dishes, addictive burgers and moreish sides reach your table in perfect condition is head chef Matteo Bartaletti. We caught up with the talented cook to find out just what it takes to run one of the island’s busiest kitchens…

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Thank you for your time, Matteo! How has your career led you to STK Ibiza?
This summer is my second season at STK Ibiza. I’m from Italy and the passion for food runs in my family. Every Sunday we do a big lunch cooked by my mum and she has been teaching me since my childhood. I started to work as a professional chef in Italy in 2003 and from there I went to Harrods in London. Then, I went to Australia for two years, where I worked in a variety of different restaurants, before going to Dubai. In my last job there, I was the Chef de Cuisine at the Burj Al Arab. My work has taken me all over the world, but eventually, I wanted to be closer to Italy and my family – and then I got the job of head chef at STK Ibiza!

The STK brand is dedicated to premium meats. Did you specialise in this particular field?
I would say that I am a specialist in Mediterranean cuisine, but because I worked in a big variety of amazing locations and restaurants, I picked up a lot of different skills. And, of course, before I started at STK Ibiza I received the full training in London that is specific to the group and the delicatessen we work with.

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The restaurant and bar are always super-busy. How do you make sure everything runs smoothly, especially with the shows and entertainment that happen during dinner?
We do 200 to 250 covers per night, so it’s a very busy operation. The secret is to be very organised at all times, and good staff training is the key. At the beginning of the season, a team from America comes over to Ibiza to do a very thorough training process for ten days, for both floor and kitchen staff. We have between 12 to 15 team members in the kitchen, and it can get very hectic when all the guests arrive at the same time, but that’s part of the job! And we have developed a natural rhythm to fit in each course around the shows.

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How much does the menu at STK Ibiza vary compared to other locations? Are there any specialities you can only get here?
The meat offering is, of course, the same as in the other STK restaurants. But we have given the menu a few special local touches to give a sense of the location, for example the Octopus “A La Plancha” which is served with a sobrassada emulsion [sobrassada is a cured meat from Ibiza] or the classic Spanish croquettes with a mushroom filling. What is also good to know is that despite being primarily a meat-focused restaurant, we also have some amazing seafood, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes on the menu. In this day in age, it is so important to cater to specialist diets. We even have a vegan burger with a vegetable patty!

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Ibiza is a very unique location. What are the highlights and challenges of running a kitchen on this island?
Sometimes it’s not easy to find professional staff, because a lot of people come here to party! But I’ve been very lucky this year and we have a very strong team. And the highlight is, of course, to live in such a beautiful place!

The island’s restaurant scene has exploded in recent years. What, in your opinion, gives STK the edge over the competition?
We try to stay true to the STK brand and its essence. We provide a fun and entertaining environment for people to enjoy dinner with nice cocktails and quality food – and we don’t take ourselves too seriously! The aim is to give our guests such a good dining and entertainment experience that they stay on after their meal and party with us!

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Which dishes would you recommend to someone who is coming to STK Ibiza for a very special occasion?
I would suggest to start with some oysters served with a Jamon Iberico mignonette, followed by a nice meat dish. The octopus is also a personal favourite of mine, but because we are a steak restaurant and our meats are of a very high standard you really shouldn’t miss a nice, medium-rare cut.

We have heard that you can also get your STK fix delivered to your home…
Yes, the full menu is available via our STK Out catering service. We can cater to both villas and boats, but during high season we need around a week’s notice in advance for bigger orders.

Further Information & Reservations
t: +34 680 780 895
e: jessica@essentialibiza.com
w: www.stksteakhouse.com/ibiza

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What do you like to do on this island when you have some time off?
I like to go to the beach and have some paella with friends, and then enjoy a sunset somewhere over a few beers.

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